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'Racist' cartoon stirs controversy at University of Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI -- A cartoon that appeared on a flier at the University of Cincinnati has students and faculty members shocked, with several calling the sketch “racist.”

The images appeared Monday night on campus and were taken down by university staff the next day.

But by Thursday, anger over the cartoon continued.

Even though college campuses are often considered crucibles of free speech, many UC students said they thought the sketch went too far.

"It’s racist," communications student Mike Farrell said.

The cartoon, aimed at UC's Arts and Sciences Dean Ronald Jackson and Assistant Dean Carol Tong, depicts the two as ruthless rulers -- and includes a panel with what some say are racist overtones.

"I feel very offended," Journalism student Mike Jones said. "It is very unfortunate because you have two great faculty members here who are not only true to what they do, but they want the university as a whole to strive."

Other students defended the cartoon, saying free speech is too important to overlook.

"Everyone has a right to express how they feel,” Anthropology student Courtney True said. “I just think it should be done in a respectful way."

Jackson was a little more blunt.

In an open letter to students, he called the sketch a “reprehensible and racist cartoon.”

“There is a way to have civil dialogue about disagreements,” he said. “This is not it.”

Jean Assell, who works for the UC's marketing and communications department, said she thought the cartoon was “vulgar.”

"As soon as I heard about it, we were out taking them down,” Assell said.

In a statement to students, UC President Santa Ono said the sketch “crossed the boundaries of civility,” and added, “please join us in reaffirming our collective commitment to civil discourse and respectful behavior by extending to everyone in this community the same respect, cooperation and caring that we, ourselves, expect."

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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